No longer a side conversation in the shared workspace industry, workplace wellness is now front and center. From small, neighborhood coworking spaces to scaled workspace brands with dozens (or more) of locations, workplace wellness is here.
Wellness was a core theme of GCUC 2018 in New York City last week. Wellness was covered in stage talks and panels, unconference sessions, planned breakout sessions and casual lobby chats.
And it’s not all about warm and fuzzy, feeling good stuff. Workplace wellness contributes to productivity, long-term health, mental health, fitness levels, social connection and more.
Here are some of our favorite workplace wellness takeaways from GCUC 2018:
Think of the ways you can create wellness in your workspace. People should feel better when they walk in your door.
Design is important, but what matters is the people in your space. If they’re not happy and well, their work and your community will suffer.
It’s not enough to have a few yoga classes. You need to actively engage your community around personal and community wellness.
You can earn WELL Certification for your workspace to demonstrate that you put your people first. WELL Certification looks at seven areas: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind to assess the wellness factor of your space.
Industrial chic is old news. Fabulous architecture and design are beginning to take a backseat to having a space with clean air, ergonomic furniture, standing and walking desks, natural light, healthy food, access to fitness services and a sense of comfort.
We’re facing a loneliness epidemic. Shared workspaces are nicely positioned to help dismantle loneliness, but space operators need to prioritize community building. It’s not a buzzword, it’s not something you commoditize and scale, it takes authentic connection day in and day out.
Mental illness needs to be talked about openly and honestly in shared workspaces. Depression and anxiety alone, two common forms of mental illness, are prevalent with young people, startups, independent freelancers and older professionals alike.
If you’re designing for magazines, you’re missing the point. Make sure your workspace is designed for humans, from the layout and desks to quiet areas, seating arrangements you can move around to keep things fresh.
You presumably have women in your workspace, but how woman-friendly is your space? Amenities including breast milk pumping rooms and feminine hygiene products in the restroom go a long way in making your female members feel supported and included.
Coworking spaces are about connections, community, people. Make sure you prioritize workplace wellness for the members of your space.
Leave a comment below about what you’re doing specifically to promote wellness in your coworking space.
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By Cat Johnson, content strategist and coworking member of NextSpace in Santa Cruz, CA.